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Speech Milestones

Your child is now three to five years old – and chances are, you’re hearing and seeing more and more language development as your child grows. Find out what you should be looking for at this age.

Girl learning to ride bike with help from parents

Talking, writing, reading, and listening – these are all essential parts of your child's literacy development. As your child grows, watch for these milestones:

  • Takes part in rhyming games and songs

  • Understands that books tell a story

  • Understands opposites (big-little, up-down, etc.)

  • Follows two-step directions (“Go to the kitchen and get the book”)

  • Asks “Why?”

  • Other people generally understand the words being said, especially by those who know your child well

  • Points out familiar signs and other items

  • Uses pronouns like I, you, he, and she

  • Knows some letters of the alphabet

  • Understands and uses new words quickly

  • Has a word for almost everything he needs in his daily life

  • Puts three to four words together,like "I want water.”

  • Likes listening to you reading books, and can answer basic questions and talk about what happened in the story

  • Uses words for positions or locations of things (in, on, under, etc.)

  • Says sentences with multiple actions (“You slide and swing at the park!”)

  • Engages in conversation

  • Tells a short story

If your preschooler is not demonstrating these milestones and/or you have concerns about your child’s development, contact your pediatrician.

First 5 California
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First 5 California
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